India’s junior women’s hockey team came up with a fine performance to hold Belarus senior women’s team to a 1-1 draw here on Friday. Belarus is currently leading the five-match series 2-1, with one drawn game. In a competitive first quarter, it was India who were consistently on the front foot with their attack and wing play. Although India managed to trouble the Belarusians, they were unable to create clear goal scoring chances and the first quarter ended with both teams locked 0-0. The pattern followed in the second quarter as well, but by now the Belarusians had settled down and were happy winning the loose balls and attacking on the counter.
In the 23rd minute, Yuliya Mikheychyk scored the opener to give the hosts the lead. India won their first Penalty Corner of the game but missed the attempt. Moments later, they were gifted another chance, with the referee awarding a stroke and Gagandeep Kaur slotted home from the spot in the final minute of the quarter to level the scores. The teams went into half-time locked at a goal apiece. Belarus kicked off the third quarter aggressively, winning a pair of PCs right at the start. Bichu Devi in India’s goal proved to be the difference though, her smart saves from both denied Belarus the goal that would haven give them the lead.
India hit back immediately, winning a PC soon after. From the PC an infringement meant they were awarded a penalty stroke and the opportunity to take the lead, but Reet missed from the spot, and the two teams went into the final break locked at one-all.
India entered the final quarter knowing that the onus was on them to find a winner. On the other hand, Belarus, leading the series, were happy to defend and hit on the counter. India dominated possession but despite attacking constantly couldn’t make clear cut inroads on the Belarus goal. The game ended in a draw. India play their final match of the tour against the Belarus Development Women team on June 15.